NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country band Alabama (search), singer Glen Campbell (search) and pioneering harmonica player DeFord Bailey, the Grand Ole Opry's first black star, are being inducted into the County Music Association Hall of Fame. (search)
Formal induction will take place Nov. 15 at the annual CMA Awards in New York. They will also be honored with plaques at the Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Alabama, featuring drummer Mark Herndon and cousins Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, honed their skills in nightclubs across the Southeast. After adopting the name Alabama in 1977, the group went double platinum in 1980 with their first RCA album, "My Home's In Alabama."
The band released 21 consecutive No. 1 singles in the 1980s, including "Feels So Right," "Mountain Music" and "The Closer You Get." The band won CMA's Entertainer of the Year award three years in a row.
"Alabama brought a new energy and a broader audience to country music in the 1980s, becoming the most successful band in our format's history," said Ed Benson, CMA executive director.
Glen Campbell played guitar for a number of artists, including Merle Haggard and Elvis Presley, before breaking out on his own in 1967 with "Burning Bridges." He had pop and country hits with "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Witchita Linemen," and "Rhinestone Cowboy" and hosted his own prime-time TV show on CBS.
Bailey, who died in 1982 at the age of 83 years old, moved to Nashville in 1925 and joined what would eventually become known as the Grand Ole Opry as its first black artist. He recorded albums and toured throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
He was fired from the Opry in 1941, although there remains a debate over whether it was because he was black or because a performance licensing conflict prevented him from performing his favorite numbers.
Bailey left the music industry and performed in public only occasionally after that.